Schools Searching for Teachers in Creative Ways

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Schools fighting a shortage of teachers and substitutes are trying to lure back those who left during the pandemic and even searching for quality educators in other countries.

Karla Rocha grew up in Mexico City but came to the United States for school and lived here for 10 years.

She got a master's degree at Texas A&M, before returning home to Mexico.  Now she may be headed back to Texas as a teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District.

"My sister saw they were going to be having some career fairs and that was great for me since I was in Mexico City," said Rocha.

Karla and several other educators in Mexico City signed up and interviewed for a job in Fort Worth. The district's heavy Hispanic population gives plenty of opportunities for bilingual teachers.

"We, as educators, can bring all our culture, knowing there are 50,000 Hispanics in the district. I know there's a lot of need for the language," she said.

Fort Worth is trying everything to get their positions filled. With more than one hundred openings and student test scores not improving quickly after the pandemic districts everywhere are having to be creative.

"We have high need, we have 41 bilingual vacancies at the elementary level and so that's a high need, unlike any other year. We're thinking how do we do things differently," said Raul Pena, Chief Talent Officer, Fort Worth ISD.

Dr. Larry Lewis is just weeks into a new job as interim superintendent in the DeSoto Independent School District fixing the teacher shortage is one of his top priorities.

"We're also looking at job sharing, in this pandemic you're finding a lot of educators may not want to work full time but they may want to work part-time. So we put two highly qualified certified teachers together they can make one teacher. One can work half time other can work the other half," said Lewis.

DeSoto ISD will hold a Career Expo on Saturday, January 22 at DeSoto High School to hire new staff. With other events planned every month through May.

Whatever the reason educators walked away, it's now about finding ways to entice them to come back looking near and far.

"We all have accents and we all have colors but in the end, we're all the same. I'm happy to be part of this interview and the school district," said Rocha. "We're looking for a big opportunity and this is the one."

Almost all districts are looking for help, check out their websites for information on the next job fairs.

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